Dear Dr NerdLove,
About 12 months ago I met a man. I instantly had a crush on him but I didn’t know why. It didn’t make sense. Whenever he was in the office, I was excited to see him. I would express this, thinking that this was just a friendship thing.
About 6 months ago we were walking away from the office together. He pointed at the hiking shoes I was wearing, and asked me to go hiking with him. I thought that it was a little odd, given that he was married. But I was pretty depressed at the time. I was just happy to have a day not thinking about how alone I felt. So I said yes.
And then all of a sudden we were inseparable. We found any excuse to spend time together. I told myself this was innocent and we were just friends. I told myself it was only me that had feelings. Then one evening, as he was driving me home, his wife called. This was a real wake-up call. She sounded hurt. She asked him when he was coming home. So I decided to confront him. I told him we were crossing a line. I asked him why he had the emotional space to do so. He asked me to come for a walk with him the next day and we would talk about it.
The next day we sat down under a tree together, admiring the view. He opened up about his wife. He said that around 10 years ago she got depression. He supported her through it but she had become a completely different person. They didn’t really have a relationship to speak of. He didn’t enjoy her company anymore. Being around me made him feel like he was alive again. I asked him why, if the relationship was so bad, he didn’t just leave her. He was afraid of being alone. He said that we should just enjoy each others company. Have a nice time together. That we both needed some light in our lives, and that we could give that to each other. It felt wrong at the time but it felt like just what I needed. Nothing happened that day. When I went home, I realised how crazy this was and broke it off.
But then he asked me for one last dinner. Before I left. I was moving interstate the next week so one last dinner couldn’t hurt. I figured I was leaving anyway, so that would be ok. One last dinner to say goodbye. He picked me up, I got nice and dressed up, and we went to a really nice restaurant. He lavished me with attention. He spent the whole evening looking me in the eye. It felt like he was looking inside of me. He listened to all of my stories and told some of his own. It was the nicest “date” I’d had in years. Or ever, really. That night we kissed for the first time. I was instantly drawn to him. The sexual energy was amazing.
The next few days before I left, we were inseparable again. We had the most amazing sexual chemistry, and that was just the beginning. We spent the next 6 weeks on the phone daily. He even visited me once. I’d asked him to not talk about his wife too much. But one thing he did say was that he hadn’t seen his family more than one day a year since he was married to her. Because the fallout from him seeing them was too much to handle. She didn’t like it. So I encouraged him to visit them. I taught him to be selfish in bed. He didn’t know how to ask for what he wanted, and wanted to make it all about me. I taught him to speak up for what he wanted outside of the bedroom as well. I taught him that his feelings mattered.
I would often ask him how he could have an affair. Why he didn’t feel bad about it. He said he needed to be sure about me before leaving her. I made the point that he couldn’t be sure it was over with her, because he hadn’t left her. And if he wasn’t sure he wanted to leave her, he shouldn’t be with me. His thoughts should be about whether he wanted to leave her, rather than whether he wanted to leave her for me. And then he finally made the decision to leave her. He was coming to be with me. It was a glorious morning. I was so relieved it was over. And then it wasn’t.
He had told her about the affair, he had told her about leaving her, and he had left her. But then she’d realised what she was missing and promised she would change. I spent the next 6 weeks having half a relationship with him. He was attentive, kind, exciting and interesting when he was with me. But then he would go back to stay with his parents, and nothing. He said he needed some time to figure things out. I spent 2 hours every morning trying to drag myself out of bed. Trying to stop crying. Trying to do some work. I got at most 4 hours of work done every day. This was a really critical part of my career too. And it really really didn’t go well. I tried breaking it off with him around once a week. I tried explaining how much my work was suffering. I had to break it off to save my job. And every time. He would wait, and then ask me if I was sure. Or he’d text me, or call me, and just chat with me. And I wasn’t. It was impossible for me to get away from him.
And then I lost my job. And he left me. He went back to his wife. But wait. There’s more. We still kept talking. We were communicating daily. For hours. And then one day he went cold. He told me that day he was driving with his wife. I wasn’t sure for how long, but around 8pm I called him. I thought he would have finished driving by then. But apparently he hadn’t. His wife got angry (understandably) and told him he wasn’t allowed to be friends with me. So we had minimal contact for 2 weeks, and then all of a sudden we were back on. Talking. Every day during the week.
By now I’ve given up trying to break it off with him. I know it’s impossible. I’ve tried so many times. He’s tried. We’re in separate states, so nothing physical can happen. But I’m just so devastated. I’m still depressed all the time. He’s been so selfish. He’s only thought about himself. He’s hurt us both. He’s just kept on being selfish about this. Not considered my feelings. How much he’s hurting me. Or her. I feel like I’m in some kind of jail that keeps shrinking down outside of me. And I don’t know how to get out.
I’ve given him another month. If he hasn’t left her in a month, we’re over for good. But I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t know if I have it in me to leave him. I need help.
The icing on the cake is this. I’ve had some sexual desires that have gone unexpressed for my entire life. So has he. We’ve discovered that we have the same desires. It feels like I’ve finally discovered my sexual preference. I’ve finally made a sexual connection with someone. I’ve spent my whole life wondering whether I was straight, gay, bisexual, because I would just get so bored with men. I liked women, but not their genitals. I didn’t know what was going on. But with him, I finally discovered that I like being a sub, and he likes being a dom. And this is not just vanilla “we can play with this for a bit”. This is full blown I need to completely submit my body to him. I have so many needs that I thought were just fantasy. I can’t go back to what my sex life used to be. It’s so hard finding someone who is both highly intelligent, sexually compatible, and who I can laugh and be silly with. We talk for hours. We love arguing about the world and life and politics. And we love telling each other our stories. I’ve never found anything that comes close to this. So I feel like it’s my fate to love a man who may or may not be with me. Who may or may not leave his wife. He talks about it as if it’s inevitable. As if we will be together soon. As if he’s leaving his wife. But if it was inevitable, and if he was so sure, he would have already left her. So obviously, there’s some doubt.
I’ve always found it easy to break up with people. To the point where I actually enjoy it. I enjoy how free I feel after breaking up. This has never happened to me. I just don’t know how to get out of this. Or whether I want to. But I’m depressed.
The Other Woman